The Civil Division of the High Court in Kampala has okayed the trial of Kampala businessman, Sam Buchanan by the General Court Martial.
Buchanan was arrested last year by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), the army’s intelligence wing in connection with fraudulent gold dealings before being charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and its ammunition in the army court in Makindye.
He later ran to the Civil Division of the High Court challenging his trial since he is a civilian and that the army court has no jurisdiction over him.
However, Justice Musa Ssekaana ruled that he cannot halt trial which is done legally by a competent court.
“In my view, it is not proper for a court sitting in a civil matter to bar proceedings in a criminal trial because the circumstances under which a person is brought before a criminal court and the defences available for the accused before that court should be handled by the same court which can ably investigate them and determine them in one way or the other rather asking another Court to bar the proceedings”Justice Ssekaana ruled. This application arises out of an application that seeks to bar proceedings in a criminal
trial and I decline to grant it.”
He said the court cannot delve in stopping criminal proceedings in a criminal or military court as had been asked by Buchanan.
“There is an appeal system in the criminal trial system through which the applicant can
raise his grounds of a mistrial or defectiveness of charge sheet or challenge of proceedings in Military Court Martial.”
He said the businessman, if not satisfied can appeal against the proceedings in the Court Martial Appeal Court, then to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
He, therefore, dismissed the application with costs to Buchanan.
Buchanan is accused of illegal possession of a gun contrary to section 3(1) and 2(a) of the firearms act 299.
The prosecution alleges that on August 16, Buchanan, 49 and a resident of Buziga was found in possession of a pistol which is ordinarily a monopoly of the defence forces.
He was also charged with illegal possession of 18 rounds of 9mm caliber live ammunition for the pistol he was found with.